Scanlan Center for School Mental Health
Womans feet up in air while lounging on beach

How to actually recharge this summer

Gerta Bardhoshi
Gerta Bardhoshi
written by

Gerta Bardhoshi, Ph.D.

Educator Wellness

As I picked up my own children on their last day of school for the year, I was struck by a flurry of emotions – gratitude, excitement, relief, and dare I say it, slight panic.

Summer is a time for a break, relaxation, new adventures, and also, all of those things seem to take effort and planning, and are generally easier said than done. Taking time for a meaningful break for both myself and my children seems like another thing on my already long to-do list. 

Yet as PreK-12 educators especially know, summer presents an urgent invitation to recharge. Our emotional, physical, occupational, and social wellness depends on it! 

As a licensed mental health counselor, I know that building any real change depends on an honest and reflective look at current practices.

Perhaps in the rush of work, family, life, and everything else in between, you have found yourself sliding into some unhealthy habits (scarfing lunch at your desk, anyone)? 

Perhaps you have neglected social time with friends and family, or can’t remember the last time you engaged in an activity that gives you pure joy. 

Maybe stretches of cold weather have limited your movement and opportunities to be in nature. 

Or maybe you haven’t even had time to think about your own wellness when so many others depend on you for their own wellbeing. 

Summer is a perfect time to reflect on what aspect of your own wellness you would like to supercharge. 

3 ways to work toward wellness

If you are having trouble identifying what to focus on, here are some true and tried areas.

  1. One of the most effective ways to improve our mood and outlook is sleep. Although adults may need anywhere from 7-9 hours, if you don’t know what range works best for you, this might just be the time to experiment and find out. Combined with adding more nutritious food and movement, these physical changes can really help with overall mood, energy, and concentration. 
  2. Mindfulness is another practice – learning to breathe, notice, and sit with yourself can help reduce stress, increase a sense of calm, and generally lead to a more positive state. 
  3. Summer is also a perfect time to reconnect with family and friends and spend time outdoors (especially if this includes being away from zoom, phones, and the news cycle). Prioritize the people, places, and activities that fill you with joy. Carving time to connect, be creative, and experience a change of scenery can be just the thing to get you out of your academic year rut. 

Although you can choose any combination of ideas, remember to set a realistic goal. Summer does go by fast, so choosing manageable practices can help you actually go for it. 

Pro tip – sharing your goal with a friend or someone else close to you creates some built-in accountability and revs up excitement. 

So, here it goes, friends. I am choosing to prioritize my physical wellness this summer. I am going to walk more, soak up some sunshine, and force myself to go to bed instead of engaging in revenge bedtime procrastination (which sadly, is an actual thing). What’s going to be your thing? 🙂